Getting Lucky in the Twilight Years??

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Thanks Brian, we will get it off to an early start this year. Since I'm on the other side of 70 now, it seemed an appropriate title for a thread. :) First, a repeat pic from just 2 weeks ago. I had a late season cow elk tag here in Idaho, and got it done with the trusty 300 RUM. I knew she was probably the biggest cow I've ever killed, but didn't know how big, until she hit the scales. Cleaned and hog-dressed in the butcher's, she weighed 315#. Using the general formulas, that puts her live weight somewhere up around 650-700#. I got back 200# of finished meat today. That's some good eating for the rest of the winter!

As for draw hunts/tags this year, I already have an Arizona turkey tag for Unit 8/10 so May will be a fun trip down south. In a month we all will know about AZ elk, and I hope to have some luck getting another tag. With 24 points in Utah for deer, the time will eventually come that pays off too. Hoping it's this year.

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The Mom-in-law has been cooped up since this past March in the senior center, with the whole virus thing, and she needed to get out. We moved her in with us, and she has been much happier, so today we needed a ride. It was a beautiful bright sunny day, with no wind. Decided to take the girls out to the desert to look at the elk on my friend's hay fields. They are doing great, and having a really easy year so far.

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Well, several state draws have come and gone with no joy in Mudville. Nothing in AZ or NM, and the Expo was a bust ( I was sure my $5 was gonna get that Henries deer tag!) We got a little nice weather in town, so was able to take down a big old pine tree, and put a raised bed planter in its place. The wife is hoping for a good garden year, with lots of veggies. Wanted a new medium gun for deer/antelope and managed to find a cute little 6mm. Then promptly took it out and shot an over-pressure reload in it and ruined the bolt. That sux!! I have been successful at finding some components for it tho, when I get a new bolt installed. Finally, the RV is packed and loaded for turkey and bass down in AZ for the next month. That should be a lot of fun!! Will update from down there.

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Trying to catch up. Have been playing so much on this trip. Nice travels down, and set up in the Williams area on National Forest. Beautiful and quiet, but the birds weren't anywhere we tried!! Five days of hunting and only saw one mature gobbler. Couldn't get within 80 yards, so that was a no go. Tried calling all morning in both Unit 8 and 10, drove every wood road we knew, sat water holes in the day, and tried roosting them at night. Nada!!

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Suckered in and did Bearizona for a morning, and actually had a lot of fun. Not grizzlies like at home, but fun seeing ao many black bears. They had an amazing Coues buck that was still packing antlers in April!! Weird. Cool seeing jaguars up close too.

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Experienced the red rock country of Sedona for the first time, and was amazed by the staggering numbers of tourits hiking everywhere! Worse than Zion or other Parks, and while beautiful, i dont need that again!!

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Finally got down to Lake Havasu area, and are slowing things down a little. It's over a 100 every day, thank goodness for A/C in the RV at the campground. Water sports is king here, and we are in it or on it daily! Fun
Bass fishing is post-spawn, slow but steady in deeper water now. Even went out looking for wild burros in the desert.

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Well, finally back to hunting stuff!! Utah held the draw while we were down here, so I set my credit card to notify me of any charges. Finally, after 24 years of applying I get to chase mule deer in Southern Utah!! Guess its a good thing it is for muzzleloader season!! In all of our wanderings, I have been checking every gun shop for extra ammo in various calibers and seeing the same disturbing trend. Everybody is out of most all hunting ammo in popular choices. I did find a unicorn today tho - and old box of factory 7Rem Mag for $25. Hahaha.

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Got out and caught some more big bass from the kayaks. The wife was even catching on to fishing weedless tube jigs! Her best was right at 20", and mine was 24". We got to watch some kids sink their boat right at our beach, and that provided some comic relief for a while. They were all OK and it was really shallow, so mostly just an embarrassing learning experience! Got home safely and finalized my AZ, WY, and Idaho draw applications. Now just a few more weeks and the hunting season plans will firm up. Good luck to everyone on this last round.

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Time to settle down for a while, and get caught up around the house. Lots of things to clean, put away, get different season stuff out and checked. Load some hunting season tools and supplies into the truck and UTV, for a scouting trip down to the Paunsaugunt before my muzzleloader deer hunt in Sept..

After we got back from AZ, we still had a couple RV trips to complete. Went up to the Coeur d'Alene area for a US Navy submarine reunion with a dozen friends. Always keep in touch, but some I hadn't seen for 45 years. Within minutes, we were best friends again, and telling sea stories. The food was amazing, managed to down a couple beers and drinks, and a dinner cruise on the big lake was one of the highlights. The area up there is amazing.

From there, we just had time to come home, catch our breath, and clean and pack again for the annual camping trip to the Madison River in Montana. Families, kids, and grandkids from several states all gather for a week to share lives together (been doing this for 20+ years). Riding the UTV in some amazing new country was beautiful, and I did manage to find one grizzly bear again! The low water level and warm weather had every hatch going off at the same time, and the fish were gorged. Made for difficult fishing, but fun anyway.

I was sorta counting on my refund coming back from Wyoming, and the darn system filled 3 tags for whitetails in Nov, and an antelope rifle tag for October with 0 points. Well crap!! Gosh, I got a few tags in the Idaho draw too (extra WT meat hunt and another muzzy antelope), so my year is really full now. I did put in for a couple in the Texas Public Hunts, but they are all <1% dream hunts!! Have to dry out some down there, before I'll go back - they have had so much rain, the mosquitos are the size of eagles!! My buddy has had 52" of rain in 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!

I have managed to score on some reloading powder and Blackhorn 209, plus bullets and primers. Looks like I'm all set for a few months of hunting. I sure hope all these ammo shortages ease up in the coming months. Good luck to all on your trips and quests. May the monsoons fill up the water holes where they need it, and all your trophies be big and tasty!!

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In the middle of the dog days of summer, so things are a little slow. Starting to get excited about all of the tags for this Fall tho, and managed to get down to the Paunsaugunt for 3 days of scouting. Have lots of maps to read, penciled in circles on them that I checked, or will check shortly, and learned some beautiful new country. Everyone that said the upper portion of the unit was beautiful really understated it. Gorgeous!!!

Saw deer and turkeys, chased a couple coyotes with the truck, and saw first hand what torrential rain can do in southern Utah washes!!! Tanks are filling up, things are getting better, and the entire countryside seemed to have greened up overnight!!

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Rainy Days and Mondays - - -

Sorry for not updating this for the last couple months. Get so busy with all of the individual posts on hunting and fishing, and then forget about the HAC.

Lots of things went right over the past 2 months, had great support from various people with info and help on the Utah hunt. Was able to spend an entire week hunting deer with one of my dearest friends too!!!

Will include some great pics (sorry for the re-runs) and try to get caught up. The scenery and Fall colors were absolutely amazing. I got to really enjoy the UTV, and learned some great trails to ride if we get down there camping at Bryce in the future. I included a picture of the Podunk Guard Station, for anyone who draws the Pauns archery or muzzleloader tag in the future. For $30/night how could you go wrong camping in the middle of the unit???

I have managed to take 3 nice trophies this year, in 3 different states and still hunting. My partner filled his muzzy antelope tag, and my oldest son took a stud of a mule deer here at home in Idaho.

Have to see what the rest of the season’s travels have in store for me. I know there’s some WY 128 deer just waiting to get their picture taken!!!

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Well, rolled from late October right into November hunting season in Wyoming. I sure like to go over to the winter ranges, see all the deer, and get to hunt once in a while. By limiting myself to whitetails, it makes me hunt longer and harder, and when successful I think they eat a little better. Got a nice fat one again this year, and hope to do as well in Kansas in the December hunt with my muzzleloader.

As far as life goes in general, it has really sucked the last month and a half. Seems I am losing one close friend a week, and have had a bunch of funerals to go to. Last week it was a 50 year close friend from the Navy, and today was a close co-worker who was younger than me and had recently retired. I guess when you get to be seven decades old it is to be expected, but when the circle of life starts closing in, it makes you realize who and what is important!!!

I posted the majority of these in the Wyoming threads, but here are some of the good ones. Hope to get a lot more in the next 3 weeks, and late season fishing for browns will keep me busy and wrap up the winter. Then it will be draw season all over again. Yippee!!!

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The old bruiser, teeth almost to the gum line and antlers all broken from fighting. Even so, he was cruising the creek bottom at two o'clock in the afternoon, looking for either love ar another fight. Probably the largest bodied whitetail I have ever killed, as I'm sure the live weight was pushing 300#. In this picture, he is totally gutted and was still a full load. Almost too big for my cart!!!

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Well, the year is starting to wind down. Haven't even spent much time hunting here at home in Idaho, as I have been busy in other states and areas. Last out of state tag is going to be Kansas this year.

The Kansas rifle season is from Dec 1- Dec 12th this year, and if you have a muzzleloader tag you are allowed to hunt during the rifle season. Unfortunately, the wife's back went out so we spent the end of November and Dec 1st with back doctors, and ended up with the cortisone/lydocaine injections. We will see how much that helps, and try to hold off on surgeries for a while longer. That is inevitable, but want to wait if we can. Waited for a few days, and she did OK, so I got to go over to Goodland for a few days!

The season there turned out to be a bust for me this year. Very high temps and LOTS of wind. I am really only interested in shooting a good buck, and have always passed on the does anyway. I got a great opportunity on the first morning at 0830 (100 yards, broadside, looking the other way - a true gift!!). Fffftttt!!! My first and only mis-fire I have ever had with a 209 primer and Blackthorn 209 powder. The primer went off half-heartedly, pushed the bullet and powder out onto the ground 10 feet in front of me, and the deer all lit out for hiding cover!!!

Because this is a WMA, and public land, there were about 5 other groups hunting in the area. Some one in another group shot the buck a couple hours later, and either couldn't find it, or didn't think they hit it. Made no attempt to retrieve the buck and it laid in the hot sun at 65 degrees all day, before we saw it in the dry lake bed. Had already bloated badly and started souring. It was still laying there the next day, so I contacted the Game Warden and he came out so we could do CWD sampling, get the antlers for the dept., and mark it so people would know that it had been checked by a warden (they spray paint them fluorescent orange!). Really a nice guy, and he appreciated the contact, and my help.

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I got the opportunity to spend a couple days with 2Lumpy (nice guy, and one of my favorites on MM). He was in between hunting some WT's over East of me with his sons, and I got to show him around a little and see the private land enrolled in the Walk-In-Hunt-Area program (WIHA's). He did get to see a nice buck at last light one evening, and said the buck was skylined against the setting sun, and could see antlers at a mile away. I looked the next morning, but the water tank was empty and the overflow pond frozen solid - that guy was long gone out on the lonesome prairie!!

Before I got there, the temps were high and finding water was ket to finding deer. I had one warm day, then the front arrived and it plummeted to 8 degrees. Everything froze solid, and stayed that way. When I left yesterday, it had warmed back up to 60 degrees by 1000, but I didn't want to wait for days to thaw out. Deer had shifted their patterns to the cornstalks and milo field where ranchers kept their cows, as they put propane heaters in the water troughs. They also POST those properties. Darn it!

The deer live about 100% in the corn in Sept., and are super difficult to hunt. For the Dec. hunt, everything is cut and baled, the spaces are wide open, and most of the WT country is concentrated in creek and river bottoms in the late season. It is beautiful, but just seeing the deer doesn't cut it, you have to find out where they go to hide. I liked it better last year, when there was a foot of snow and zero degrees. Then they stay out feeding all day long. :)

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